YPDaily: Dan Clapson

In an effort to inform post-secondary students on the ease of preparing a quality, home-cooked meal, Dan Clapson partnered with a Calgary co-op to bring non-profit cooking program Start From Scratch to life. In addition to managing independent Cafe Higher Ground, as well as doing food columns, he compares himself to a foodie version of Batman in today’s YPDaily…

Elevator Pitch: Describe your job in a nutshell.
By day, I manage a popular independent cafe, Higher Ground. By night, I run a non-for-profit culinary program called Start From Scratch and am a food writer/columnist.

Why did you start working at your company? What was the inspiration for this career route?
Three and a half years ago, I was inspired by the environmentally-conscious values of the establishment that I now work for. They have a great connection with the Calgary community and I am proud to be a conduit between the two. As for the culinary side of my life, I have always loved cooking, just food in general actually, and I believe if you love something enough, you can create opportunities for yourself.

What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis?
Being in a position where I can affect Calgary’s cultural growth in a positive way.

The most challenging part?
Finding a balance between my work life, social life and personal life. Some days it is like riding a unicycle, juggling and trying to send a text message…

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
In high school, they asked us all this same question prior to graduation. Naturally, I said: ‘A popstar’. So, let’s still stick with that? In lieu of pop-stardom, I will happily settle for a well-respected food writing position with a small ’boutique’ catering company on the side. Maybe a published cookbook or two…

What does success look like to you?
Hm…such an ‘in the eye of the beholder’ kind of a question…I guess I would say success (to me) is having dinner with a group of friends and being proud of everyone’s accomplishments regardless of their field. What better way to celebrate someone else’s success than over great food and wine, right? Cheers.

What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
Thus far? Well, everyone is probably sick of me talking about this, but getting a ‘cease and desist’ letter from Kraft Canada over a trademark issue regarding my cooking program’s, Start From Scratch, former name (Kick The KD). To me, it meant that Kick The KD Start From Scratch was going some good.

Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
I realise that this is not original in the least bit, but don’t ever listen to anyone that tells you that you can’t do something. Ever. Unless you want to burn buildings down, then maybe take their advice…but, seriously, you have to be passionate about what you want to do in life and if someone doesn’t agree, then delete them off of Facebook… Also, never be an asshole. Nice guys might not ever finish first (who even made that saying up anyway?), but I’m ok with second or third.

Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
Yes. Uend:Poverty is a great charity based out of Calgary that is focusing on ending world poverty. If you check out their website you can check out the active projects they have going on right now. They even have a gift card system set up so that you can give charitable donations to your friends and family instead of birthday/holiday gifts. I love it.

What to you is notable?
People or situations that grab your attention.

Blackberry, iPhone, Android, or Other?
Can I just say ‘Other’?